Showing posts from January, 2007


Another Tuesday night race, another chance to feel horrible. Here's a quick recap.

I showed up 30 minutes early with considerably more food and drink in me than last time I did this. Felt better warming up too. The race started with the typical cluster that one would expect from a 60 skier mass start 6k. I got squeezed big time in the start and ended up back around 15th. The pack was a long line of skiers tip to tail on the first lap -- but of course the people at the back slowly got dropped. The guy in front of me would suddenly let a gap open, and I'd have to go around him and push it to get back on. This happened 3 or 4 times, and then suddenly it was my turn to get popped. I just couldn't keep up on a gradual downhill, with the draft.

After that it was all downhill. I decided that my skis were slow (they were a little, but whatever) and that I must be dehydrated. While I was sorting out my list of excuses Anna McLoon passed me. And then some other girl from UA…

Extreme cross wreckage

I've never seen someone somersault over the barriers in a cross race before. Holy cow.

Hobbies: Internet

Mad props to Tobias Angerer for leading the World Cup and also listing "Internet" as one of his hobbies. I can only assume he frequents some kind of hardcore German internet where every website is about goatees. And his keyboard is probably laden with umlauts.

Meanwhile, I keep ski racing. I like to think I'm walking the fine line between the most aggressive way to get in shape and just breaking my body down by doing too much with too little. So far, no sickness or injury, and I'm gradually getting faster, so I'm going to keep it up.

Saturday was 30k of a flat classical mass start in Jackson, NH. I was so confident in my legendary double poling ability that I decided to get to the start as late as possible so that I could line up behind people in windpants. I'm just that cocky. My poles weren't even on when the race started. Also part of the plan. If I had been up front, I might have settled in with all the guys I want to beat and then I would have…

Da Holeshot

Has my ski career declined to the point where all I can do is get pointless holeshots? Quite possibly.

Tour de Rumford: Three days of Pain

This weekend was the "Tour de Rumford," and the two weekend races were basically the biggest nordic races other than Nationals to ever happen on the east coast, with 400+ competitors on both Saturday and Sunday. And unlike a cross race, only about 10% of these racers could be considered anything less than hardcore.

So that's a recipe for a pretty serious beatdown, if you ask me. But let's start with the good part.

Friday was a freestyle sprint relay, and unlike the weekend races was lightly attended. After my first partner bailed at the last second I ended up with Josh Plog, who skied well enough that I was the slower link on the team, but only by a little. So we were a good team.

The course was a 1.2k lap with a pretty long climb in the middle. I was on the opening leg (six legs, with each skier skiing 3) and I ended up randomly assigned to the front row. Thanks to my cross experience, I recognized this as a great opportunity to be that guy who gets the holes…

Uppin' the nerd ante

I did some more work on tonight. The big thing was adding results from nationals, and fixing up two races (UNH and Sterling) that were screwy, but I also added the ability to "merge" racers. What is this, you ask?

It turns out that many, many people like to use different names when they race. Steve is sometimes Stephen, Dan is sometimes Daniel, Chris is often Christopher, etc, etc. And don't even get me started on people who show up on results as "John fadshflksah" because of their terrible handwriting, or the fact that results were typed by a blind and drunk college student.

ANYWAY! The names were full of errors. Now, if you know of two names that refer to the same person, you can magically merge them into one person! Hooray!

I really hope people will use this, at least if they come across people they know who are entered under different names. There are nearly 2000 racers in the database, so I'm certainly not going through and fixi…

As If Nordic Racing Needs Help Dying

So there's really not much to report about this weekend, unless you consider record high temperatures and no snow noteworthy. It might seem relevant, given the title of this blog, but I can't bring myself to complain about the obvious, at least not without some halfway interesting facts, or something.

Instead providing any sort of narrative about my ski career, then, I'll take this time to call out NENSA (or whoever is in charge of these things) for some surprising incompetence regarding the "Tour de Rumford." Basically, the NENSA schedule has been up for several months, listing this weekends races as "Friday: 2pm prologue, Saturday, 10k individual start, Sunday, 15k Mass start," or something to that effect. Registration opened last week, and the race is next weekend. I'm not sure about the wisdom of a Friday race, but I'll withhold judgment until I see the turnout.

Then, yesterday, they drop this gem -- "Friday's event will be a 2x…

Matt White is a Pimp

Do not argue with me, just click.

Also, in an interview at, Greg Reain (Canadian 2006 CX Champ) said this:

36. Any words of advice for those new to cyclocross?
Find a ninja to learn from. Technique is paramount. Try new things. Think smooth, not speed. Equipment is unimportant.

That last bit makes me feel a lot better about riding my 45psi clinchers and not giving a damn about trying to gain that extra 0.5% with a bunch of expensive bike parts. Screw the equipment weenies, just train.

Throwin down with the master blasters

Tuesday night sprints!

There might only be 300 meters of skiable snow in all of Massachusetts, but that's probably 250 meters more than what the CSU guys would race on. Tonight was the first of the CSU Tuesday night sprints at Weston, and the course was -- according to my time, anyway -- about 65 seconds long. Basically, you hammered for 25 seconds, then did a U-turn, then hammered for 25 seconds, then did a U-turn. Eight laps of that.

These races are not "organized," in the conventional sense of the word, but they are timed, which is good enough for me. I got a sweet 5 minute warmup in after booking it out of work early, and then a mob assembled. Someone said it was a self-seeded mass start, and no one else seemed to want the outside of the front row, so I stood over there. And then someone said go, so like 30 people started ski racing on a postage stamp of snow. Which is awesome.

The first couple laps were a tight line of skiers, pretty much tip to tail. I fell …

Stat Geekery: Verge Series C Men Results

I'm really happy with how easy this turned out to be.

Indiscriminate Beatdown

On Saturday I did a 10k ski race. This was the first ski race I'd done in 2 years, because I spent last year in exile in Florida. I finished the 2004-2005 season by winning 2 of the last 4 races I entered and placing a very respectable 9th at the Maine Sprint Championships.

What does this have to do with a ski race in 2006, you might ask?

Absolutely nothing.

I got beat down by men, women and children alike on Saturday. The top 4 women beat me. The top 7 juniors beat me. The top 4 45+ guys beat me.

And people my age and gender? They crushed me.

In the end I finished 23rd out of 47 men, just squeaking into the top half. The numbers don't look that bad compared to my cross results, but I've been doing this sport for my whole life, so I have slightly higher expectations. Unrealistically high, usually.

In any case, the winter is shaping up so terribly that I may not have to ski race again for quite some time. I'm not complaining about that -- it will give me some muc…